How To Scream Sing (Without Wrecking Your Vocal Cords) Friday December 30 2022, 11:45 PM
Yona Marie
Singer, Songwriter, Producer.
How To Scream Sing (Without Wrecking Your Vocal Cords)

How To Scream Sing

There are a few genres of music out there that call for singers to literally scream in the middle of a song. This is not to be confused with singing loudly or belting; I mean straight-up screaming.

For genres like metal, gospel, country, and musical theatre, sometimes it really works well. 

But how well is that scream working out for your voice box and your vocal cords? Chances are, the type of screaming you are doing while performing is the type that will damage your body over time. 

I want to share a few tips that have helped me scream on occasion while performing a song in a way that would not cause my vocal cords to hate me.

While the best choice is to avoid screaming at all, I understand that the art of music can call you to do some risky things. 

Warm Your Voice Up

Warming up your voice, especially before doing something straining to it, is a great way to ease your body into speaking or singing and minimize any damage or irritation.

I use several go-to warmups nearly every day as a professional studio vocalist. Check out some of my favorite vocal exercises here

There would be such a different sound coming out in my recordings if it weren't for the positive effects I get from doing these exercises before singing for an extended period of time.

Hydrate Yourself

Not only is it essential to drink plenty of water throughout the day, but it is important to hydrate before a long performance at the right time.

If you want to hydrate properly, be sure that you are drinking water at least two hours before your performance or practice session.

If you have a gig coming up, be sure that you aren't drinking alcohol or caffeine. For my tea lovers out there, drinking tea is a great thing to do as a singer or speaker, but avoid the teas that have caffeine in them since they can dry out your throat.

The best thing to do is simply to drink water if you don't feel like remembering what and what not you want to drink to stay hydrated. 

Do Lower Volume Screams

If you are doing a scream in a practice or studio session, you can scream at a lower volume to save your vocal cords from the damage that a loud scream might do to you.

If you are performing in a live setting, try holding the mic closer to your mouth for the screams to have a higher volume without you having to strain your voice to hit increase the volume yourself.

You can also consider screaming softer away from the mic to make it seem like you have screamed louder than you actually did. 

Try Vocal Fry

Vocal fry is the lowest form of your register that you can access by lightly making a rattling sound on the vowel "uhhhh" for example.

Approaching vowels with vocal fry adds an element of flavor to your tone that can help get your point across well in songs dealing with topics like love and loss. 

When you use this in combination with your scream, you can do less damage to your vocal cords and still give off the feeling of grunge and stress that a pure scream would give you. 

Avoid Pure Screams 

In addition to vocal fry, there are other types of screams you could go for that won't be the pure scream that will be loud and the most damaging to your voice.

Consider going for the growling type of scream that is often found in metal songs. You could also go for a more melodic false-chord scream that mixes screaming and singing a high note, which also does less damage than pure screaming will do to your vocal cords. 

Go For Long Jaw Placement 

If you're attempting to scream during a song, a simple thing to remember is to go for long vowels and a dropped jaw when it comes to your mouth placement.

Long placement will help relieve any tension you may have in your mouth and throat, which will minimize the damage done while screaming.

To try to start this type of placement as a beginner, simply mimic the feeling the back of your throat has when you yawn. You can also drop your jaw and place your fingers right in front of your ear, and you should feel your jaw fully separating from it.

Raise Your Soft Palate

Along with a long jaw placement, you will also want to raise your soft palate in order to relax the muscles in your throat and avoid constriction. Singers often benefit from a raised soft palate to help them to release a more resonant sound that can fill a room.

Your soft palate is the muscular section that is located at the back of the roof of your mouth.

Some people confuse the tonsils and the soft palate, but the tonsils are actually called palatine tonsils, which allude to their location on your soft palate on either side.

Do A Vocal Cooldown After 

Cooldowns for your vocals help to reset your body and voice back to neutral. You don't want to be stuck in vocal performance mode once the performance time has passed.

Relaxing and stretching your voice box can help release unnecessary tension in your body and allow you to avoid stress on your speaking voice. It also helps you prevent vocal fatigue and rasp after an intense performance (or several). 

Doing light vocalizations for a few minutes on the drive home significantly reduces that feeling of soreness. The keyword here is light! 

Related Post: Why Does My Throat Hurt After Singing?

A vocal cooldown does not need to take long at all. You will need 15 minutes at most to get back to a good vocal state, but 5-10 minutes will do really well.

Scream Sparingly 

You may have noticed that the overall message here is that you don't want to scream that often if you want to keep your vocal cords healthy.

If you plan to regularly do a scream as a part of your touring or professional schedule, always replace your real screams in rehearsal with fake ones. 

If you find that the alternates for screaming really don't work for your singing method and need to let out a pure scream, make it rare and make them count.

Screaming is a part of human nature and won't do much damage if you do it here and there, but making it a part of your daily routine is risky. 

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Yona Marie

As a session singer, writer, and producer that has worked with over 200 clients to provide high-quality jingles, singles, and features, Yona spends her time creating and marketing new music and helpful resources for creators. Her recent collaborations include work with PBS Sound Field, Tribe of Noise, and the National Black Chamber of Commerce. Check out Yona’s latest releases on her Spotify, her Youtube and share if you like it!

If you are in need of singer, songwriter or song producer services, see what Yona Marie can offer you on her services page. As an Amazon Associate, Yona Marie earns from qualifying purchases. Amazon and other affiliate products are recommended to genuinely help readers and keep this site up and running as well.

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